8 December 2022

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Is it weird I never want it to end?

Clinical Nurse Specialist Maxine Last says sharing experiences and ideas with fellow professionals from around the world on the Lantern Model Programme has helped take her career to new heights.

We asked Maxine Last, a Clinical Nurse Specialist at Ipswich Hospital in Suffolk, to share some feedback on her experience of the Lantern model Programme, pick out some highlights and reflect on how the programme has influenced her daily work, caring for patients.

First of all I would like to say a massive thank you to all involved in the development of the Lantern Model programme. Every member of St Christopher’s team I have liaised with over the year have been helpful, engaging, compassionate and kind. They push us out of our comfort zones to think and explore palliative and end of life care in new and creative ways.

I personally enjoy the fact it is multi-faceted with webinars, community of practice forums, use of the communication platform Discord, the Lantern Model reflection tool and a never ending bank of resources. I enjoy attending every session and exploring ideas and thoughts from all over the world with real people working in palliative and end of life care, from nurses to professors.

How has the programme influenced your work?

I have been truly inspired from the Lantern Model when it comes to my own role. I am a Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Specialist in a busy hospital setting, in England. I only joined the team in July and am new in that respect to palliative care although prior to being a nurse I was a healthcare assistant in a Hospice and always knew I would be doing a full circle at some point of my career.

Being new to the team I have been able to see what we do well, what we don’t do so well and where we can improve. We have a team away day planned in December, and I have some big ideas I will be sharing regarding seeing the person in the patient (and the use of the word ‘patient’), the way we run our multidisciplinary team meetings and developing a robust palliative education programme. I will be playing a key role in developing what this looks like, adding fresh ideas and subsequent integration within our Hospital. I could only have done this confidently with the guidance of the Lantern Model webinars, community of practice sessions and the website/resources/Discord which are accessible 24/7.

What difference has the programme made to the way you think about your role?

I am a creative person and I love the way the programme explores palliative and end of life care with a creative view – the element of Art is just as important (if not more) as the Science. The Lantern Model tool has helped me to bring my creative side back into my professional role. I particularly enjoyed the reflection on person centred care and one particular part invited us to write a poem regarding this, I wrote as follows:

“Am I patient A, or am I patient B?

Am I the one that takes three sugars in my tea?

Am I the one who’s short of breath because of COPD?

Or am I just the person awaiting complex discharge team?

Am I the one in pain, needing more morphine?

Am I the patient waiting for another whole body CT?

Am I requiring a catheter to help me do a wee?

Or am I just taking up a bed, unnecessarily?

Am I the one who talks too much, my entire life story?

Am I the frequent faller who always hurts their knee?

Am I really sick and needing critical outreach teams?

Or am I something else, you call a psycho-social plea?

Am I the patient vomiting, needing IV cyclizine?

Am I the one with dark stool and query GI bleed?

Am I awaiting chemo after having surgery?

Or am I just a person with multiple complex unmet needs?

Am I the one that looks unkempt, with food between my teeth?

Am I the patient dying, left alone in side-room G?

Am I needing physio to help with my mobility?

Please stop sharing who YOU think I am, and just come and talk to ME!”

I have shared this poem with all of my team and have also invited them to share their thoughts on other aspects of the Lantern Model regarding our team and the way we work. We have had plenty of healthy and interesting debates in the office and I will be ensuring this continues! I would highly recommend this programme to anyone with a keen interest in Palliative and End of Life care and can absolutely confirm it has made me a better Clinical Nurse Specialist in every way possible.

Many thanks again to all involved in this amazing programme… is it weird I never want it to end?

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